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Presentation Details


The Form of the Book: The Role of Standardization on the Authority of the Reader

Linsey Silver.

Standardization impacts how we both produce and consume design. More than what is considered grammatically right and wrong, standardization of our linguistic and visual world can impact our ability to communicate and understand ideas as well as our ability to make independent decisions. I will investigate what role such standards play in society, looking specifically at the authority relationship between the producer and the consumer. The book format is used in schools, religious institutions, houses of government, and businesses, retaining large economic value. The books with which we surround ourselves define us by their content and their presence.

Looking down the rows at the local library, visually, all information is presented with a certain sameness. A book on capitalism is roughly the same size, weight, and type treatment as a book on gardening. It is overwhelming to have no hierarchy, no visual system in which differentiation occurs. Disparate ideas are continually presented in similar format. The forms do not often relate to the content they present, but merely convey a sense of the academic; they maintain the authority of the book. Not only does such treatment affect how we look at the ideas contained within, but the form of the book has also affected the layout of our own private spaces.

What would happen if the standardization were broken? How would the audience respond? Does the audience have any authority in a standardized environment? How do we design with the audience in mind in a standardized world? Does audience even matter? What then is the responsibility of the designer? And is it possible to communicate through a non-tested channel? What is the role of experimentation? What is the future of book design?


Linsey Silver  (United States)
MFA in Design Candidate

California College of Arts and Crafts

  • Standardization
  • Authority
  • Design
  • Linguistics
  • Experimentation
  • Form

(Virtual Presentation, English)